Aer Lingus and British Airways have always had a pretty close commercial relationship. BA codeshare on many of the Irish carrier’s services, which you can see when making a booking. Try to select seats on those flights and you will run into a problem.

The two airlines use different computer systems, which is not all that unusual. While they do talk to each other for a lot of things, seat selection is not one of them.

First, Check Seating Availability

So you’ve made a booking with cash on the British Airways web site and your flight is operated by Aer Lingus. Or, you’re an Executive Club member and have redeemed some Avios for a reward flight to or from Ireland. Naturally you want to select seats, but you can’t.

First thing you need to do is go to the Aer Lingus web site and do a dummy flight booking. Find the flight on the day you’re travelling and enter your details until you get to the seat selection screen. This will show which seats are still available.

The Aer Lingus Booking Reference

Next, you will need to find your Aer Lingus booking reference, which is different to a British Airways one. Below is a screenshot from my Executive Club account showing my upcoming booking.

You will see the Booking Reference begins with an N. If you then go to the Aer Lingus web site and put this in to Manage Trip, you will get an error message saying “Those details are not correct.” This is because Aer Lingus use a different system – all their booking references start with number 2.

I am also a member of the Irish airline’s frequent flyer programme, AerClub. It is totally separate from Executive Club, though they do use the same Avios currency. Presumably because I have the same e-mail address in both, the BA codeshare bookings automatically appear there, along with the Aer Lingus booking reference starting with a 2.

Now to Select Seats

Finally, we can now select seats, which is relatively easy. You need to telephone your local Aer Lingus reservations office and get them to do it for you. The only thing they can do with these bookings is let you select seats, so don’t ask them anything else. They will need the Aer Lingus booking reference beginning with 2.

You will be required to pay the standard fee to choose your seat and they will take payment over the phone. After the call, you can do a dummy booking again on the Aer Lingus web site and you’ll see your seat is now listed as taken. Alternatively, when you go to Manage My Booking on BA, it will show up as well. Usually I notice it the next day.

Can’t Find The Aer Lingus Booking Reference?

For those people without an AerClub account, finding the Aer Lingus booking reference is going to present a problem. In cases like this, the people at the Aer Lingus call centre will usually ask for your ticket number. This is found in your British Airways e-mail confirmation, down the bottom in the payment information.

All BA tickets start with 125- so you should find it easily. The Aer Lingus call centre staff sometimes ask for the ticket number as part of the verification too, so you’re best off having it to hand. I do believe you can also get the Aer Lingus booking reference by ringing BA and asking them for it.

Overall Thoughts

The ability to select seats easily is something most people take for granted. A couple of clicks and you’re done. When it comes to Aer Lingus flights booked through British Airways, it seems like a mind-numbingly complicated process. It kind of is, but at the same time, it is pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

Ideally you will have an AerClub account, as there is a link between the two systems. I know I didn’t do anything to link them and I can see BA codeshare bookings have appeared as far back as 2016!

One of thing to mention, if they don’t ask you to pay, say nothing. Sometimes you might get away with a cheaper fee than you should, or no payment at all, so roll with it if that is the case. The Aer Lingus people always say you’ll receive an e-mail after you pay for the seats, but you don’t. You won’t get any indication you’ve paid except for a transaction on your credit card.

Have you ever had to select seats on Aer Lingus when booking through British Airways? How was your experience? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Baileygill111 via Wikimedia Commons.